Garden signs on wall tiles

I’m making labels for my garden sections by painting tiles.

This is a blank “subway” style marble tile. It’s 140×45 mm (2×6 inch). One is about $1. Avoid “glazed” or “glossy” tiles, which are too smooth for the paint to stick well.

First, we add a layer of tape. I used blue painter’s tape because it’s easy to see. I expect masking tape would work well too.

Attach the sign you want to your tape. I used double-stick tape. It’s better than single-stick around the edges, but that also works in a pinch.

Cut through the letters using an x-acto blade. I used a sans-serif font to make this step faster.

Remove the paper, as well as the tape. You can use the x-acto blade to peel up the tape. Make sure not to lift up the “holes” in letters like ‘B’ or ‘a’.

Paint the tile. I used pale/pastel blue acrylic spray paint. Make sure to either not spray the sides, or cover them in tape too.

Then I let it sit for 15-20 minutes.

Peel off the tape. I used gloves, and took out the holes using tweezers.

Peeling the tape while the paint is slightly wet is easier than completely dry. When it’s dry, the acrylic clings to the tape and “stretches” rather than cleanly breaking.

If you mess up along the way anywhere, acetone took the paint off great for me.

Then I let the paint completely dry. Optionally, you can seal it with a clear sealant if you want extra waterproofing.

I attach the tile to my raised beds using z-brackets sized to fit the tile thickness and a screwdriver. They look fine on the dirt too.

Looks nice! Maybe I’ll switch to a higher-contract color paint for white?

Making signs on wall tiles

I recently made an art project as a birthday gift for a young friend of mine.

I hadn’t seen the exact technique I invented to make stencils posted anywhere, so I figured I’d share it. I don’t think this is a good method, but maybe it will inspire someone to do something better.

I started with a blank tile. On top, I put down a layer of painter’s tape (basically masking tape, but a little less stretchy).

I printed and taped a piece of paper on top (made using this online tool with the font BreeSerif):

I used an x-acto knife to cut through both the top paper and paper, then removed the paper. Then I peeled the letters out of the painter’s tape.

I painted the letters with acrylic, let them dry, and removed the tape. In retrospect, it probably would have been easier to remove the tape wet, because acrylic paint is a little stretchy and I went over the lines.

The letters happily lifted right off the glazed tile, which hadn’t been sanded or anything. I added a heavy coat of modge-podge spray sealant, which kept everything in place after drying.

Finally, I used a masonry bit to drill screw holes in the tile, so it could be attached to a door.

She seemed to like it :). But now she wants to make one too. I’ll have to see if I can invent an easier way.

Scroll Props

Infocom introduced (AFAIK) the concept of feelies:

[…] Imaginative props and extras tied to the game’s theme—provided copy protection against copyright infringement.[45] Some games were unsolvable without the extra content provided with the boxed game. And because of the cleverness and uniqueness of the feelies, users rarely felt like they were an intrusion or inconvenience, as was the case with most of the other copy-protection schemes of the time.[49] Feelies also provided the player with a physical aspect to the gameplay of their text adventures, giving another dimension of strategy to what would other-wise just be a text parser.

– Wikipedia (Infocom)

I love to give out feelies for my D&D campaigns. Here are some lil handout props I made:

I used a receipt printer, q-tips, tape, and orthodontic rubber bands.

Cardboard mail holders

Our house has seven people, so today I made some mail holders to put on our doors.



I basically had some long cardboard boxes, and cut them in half. Then I added new ends and separators in the middle.

I’m not sure if they’ll actually get used. Mail on the floor looks bad, but these aren’t that hot either. If you make some and want to improve the look, you can cover everything in paper or cardstock.